“best practice” – a procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results and that is established or proposed as a standard suitable for widespread adoption.
“correspondence education” – Correspondence education is a formal educational process under which the institution provides instructional materials, by mail or electronic transmission, including examinations on the materials, to students who are separated from the instructor. Interaction between the instructor and the student is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student; courses are typically self-paced.
“distance education” – a formal educational process in which the majority (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. A distance education course may use the internet; one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices; audio conferencing; or video cassettes, DVD’s, and CD-ROMs if used as part of the distance education course or program.
Section 1 – Administration
1A. A Distance Education Faculty Handbook will be maintained by the Office of Distance and Alternative Learning with input from the College-wide Distance Education Committee. The Distance Education Faculty Handbook will contain guidelines and procedures for the design, development, delivery, and assessment of distance education courses and programs, consistent with AR 5.0201.01 and this Guideline/Procedure. Requests for changes and additions to the Handbook by faculty and staff should be made to the chair of the Distance Education Committee.
1B. The Office of Distance and Alternative Learning, in partnership with instructional departments and recognizing Faculty primacy in curriculum and instruction will provide for the general administration of distance education at Austin Community College, including the support and organization to ensure quality education learning courses and programs, good management of distance education resources; timely assessment, evaluation, and approval of distance education courses and programs; analysis of data on distance education courses, programs, and student outcomes; and compliance with all applicable regulations, laws, and accreditation standards.
Section 2 – Curriculum and Instruction
2A. Distance education courses and programs will conform to the same instructional standards and requirements as campus-based courses and programs.
2B. In accordance with SACSCOC policies, ACC faculty are responsible for distance education curriculum and instruction. Distance education courses must be approved by the appropriate department (or discipline), in accordance with departmental guidelines and with administrative approval. Courses must meet established design standards in order to be approved for delivery.
2C. Distance education programs must be approved by the appropriate department (or discipline), in accordance with departmental guidelines and with administrative approval.
2D. Departments with approved distance education programs must offer sufficient course sections in the schedule to enable students to attain the distance education program degree or certificate.
2E. Distance education course sections are scheduled by the Department Chair, in consultation with the Office of Distance and Alternative Learning, and subject to administrative approval.
2F. Distance education sections are assigned to faculty members by Department Chairs, in consultation with the faculty member, and subject to approval of the appropriate dean.
2G. In accordance with applicable law and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requirements and policy statements, distance education courses and programs at Austin Community College will be taught using the College-approved learning management system to ensure students’ authentication, verification, privacy, and use of appropriate technology. The technology must be supported by the College, accessible to students, and to the extent possible, consistent with the technology used in distance education courses and programs across the institution.
Section 3 – Faculty
3A. Faculty who teach distance education courses are required to have the same minimum academic or professional qualifications as those required of faculty who teach campus based courses.
3B. Faculty who teach distance education courses will be required to receive initial and ongoing training to support good distance education practices and effective use of distance education resources.
3C. Faculty who have successfully completed the College’s required distance education training are eligible to teach distance education courses.
Section 4 – Student Support
4A. The College will provide support services that are accessible and appropriate for distance education courses.
Section 5 – Assessment/Evaluation
5A. The College will provide criteria and instruments for the evaluation of distance education courses and programs.
5B. Assessment of distance education courses and programs will be based on criteria comparable to that used for campus-based courses and programs, with specific references to best practices for distance education.
5C. Faculty teaching distance education courses will be evaluated using criteria for distance education courses and practices in accordance with AR 4.1201.02, Faculty Evaluation.Back to Top